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College football conference power rankings

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Colorado's Clayton punches in a pair of short TDs in the 2nd (0:57)

Ashaad Clayton rushes for two short touchdowns in the second quarter to put Colorado up 14-13 heading to the half vs. Arizona. (0:57)

Each week, our writers rank the top college football teams in each Power 5 conference and the Group of 5.

Check out each conference below to see where things stand heading into Week 15.

Jump to a conference:
ACC | Big Ten | Big 12 | Pac-12 | SEC | Non-Power 5

ACC

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4:27

Mizzou stuns Arkansas 50-48 with walk-off FG

The Tigers cap a 27-point fourth quarter with a game-winning field goal as time expires to secure the Battle Line trophy against the Razorbacks.

The ACC championship game we all predicted would happen when Notre Dame decided to play as a league member for this year came to fruition on a cold Saturday night in Blacksburg, Virginia, when Clemson clinched its sixth straight appearance in the ACC championship game with a 45-10 win over Virginia Tech. Notre Dame, meanwhile, ended its ACC season with a 45-21 win over Syracuse -- having already secured its spot. So now we get to wait a week until the rematch between the two best teams in the ACC, in Charlotte, North Carolina, with major College Football Playoff implications.

With the regular season winding down, there were no major upsets. Boston College, Syracuse and NC State all finished their seasons as scheduled Saturday. The Eagles made it through the entire season with just one positive coronavirus case among all their players, and it happened in this final week of testing. Meanwhile, NC State coach Dave Doeren deserves major credit for what he did with the Wolfpack this season, and has emerged as an ACC Coach of the Year candidate. A year after going 4-8, NC State doubled its win total to finish 8-3 and won a school-record seven conference games. While it is true everyone played two more ACC games than normal, it's still worth noting the job Doeren and new offensive coordinator Tim Beck did -- especially after losing starter Devin Leary for the season in mid-October. -- Andrea Adelson

1. Notre Dame
2. Clemson
3. Miami
4. North Carolina
5. NC State
6. Wake Forest
7. Virginia
8. Boston College
9. Pitt
10. Virginia Tech
11. Louisville
12. Georgia Tech
13. Florida State
14. Duke
15. Syracuse

Big 12

And then there were two.

With a week to go in the Big 12's regular season, we have our participants for the conference championship game. Iowa State clinched its berth in the Big 12 title game early in the day following TCU's upset of Oklahoma State, then the Cyclones proceeded to dominate West Virginia, putting some icing on their first conference-championship berth in program history.

In the league's nightcap, Oklahoma's defense carried the day, lifting the Sooners to a win over Baylor. The win is OU's sixth straight and, after starting the season 0-2 in Big 12 play, OU is back in the conference title game once again. The Sooners have one game left (vs. West Virginia), while the Cyclones will enjoy a weekend off before the two meet on Dec. 19.

Elsewhere, Texas bounced back in a big way, playing its best offensive game of the year and scoring 69 points en route to a dominant win over Kansas State. The aforementioned Horned Frogs, despite five turnovers, beat No. 15 Oklahoma State, knocking the Cowboys out of league title contention. And Texas Tech squeaked by Kansas in a game that was by no means pretty. -- Sam Khan Jr.

1. Iowa State
2. Oklahoma
3. Texas
4. Oklahoma State
5. West Virginia
6. TCU
7. Kansas State
8. Texas Tech
9. Baylor
10. Kansas

Big Ten

Ohio State remains atop the rankings with its 52-12 win over Michigan State. Indiana comes in just behind the Buckeyes at No. 2 after beating the favored Wisconsin Badgers in Madison 14-6 with new quarterback Jack Tuttle.

Northwestern stays at No. 3 after its game against Minnesota was canceled, and Iowa is No. 4 with its win over Illinois. Nebraska gets out of the basement with a win over Purdue, and Rutgers goes to the bottom after losing 23-7 to Penn State. -- Harry Lyles Jr.

1. Ohio State
2. Indiana
3. Northwestern
4. Iowa
5. Wisconsin
6. Minnesota
7. Maryland
8. Penn State
9. Michigan State
10. Michigan
11. Nebraska
12. Purdue
13. Illinois
14. Rutgers

Pac-12

After escaping with victories in its first two games of the season, USC has looked the part of the best team in the Pac-12 in its past two games: wins against Utah and Washington State. The only other undefeated team in the conference is Colorado, which could get left out of the Pac-12 championship game despite not losing a game.

Here's the scenario: USC is scheduled to play UCLA next week, while Colorado is set to play Utah. If both teams win, USC would go to the conference title game (one of Colorado's wins was a nonconference game against San Diego State), setting up the possibility that Colorado could be the only undefeated team in the Pac-12 on Dec. 19 but not be the conference champion. It would be a bad look and something the conference can easily avoid.

Instead of the current matchups, USC should play Colorado this week and UCLA should play Utah -- both of these games were canceled earlier in the year. If USC loses to Colorado, it could still play UCLA the following week. It's more important to preserve a fair pathway for Colorado to play for the conference title than it is to hold the USC-UCLA game in an empty stadium. -- Kyle Bonagura

1. USC
2. Colorado
3. Washington
4. UCLA
5. Oregon
6. Stanford
7. Utah
8. Washington State
9. Oregon State
10. Cal
11. Arizona State
12. Arizona

SEC

Don't look now, but Missouri has crept into the top five and is looking like a real problem for the rest of the SEC.

What coach Eli Drinkwitz has done in less than a year in Columbia, Missouri, is remarkable. He has the Tigers, who many believed would be among the worst teams in the conference, looking like future contenders having won five of their past six games.

And, lest we forget, he's done all that despite a handful of players who opted out and he's doing it without TCU transfer Shawn Robinson at quarterback.

No, it's freshman quarterback Connor Bazelak who is leading a dynamic offense that can spread you out and put the ball in the air or turn around and give it to Larry Rountree III and let him rumble between the tackles.

Whether all that means Missouri upsets Georgia on Saturday is up to someone else to figure out. For now, it's safe to say that the Tigers have the Bulldogs' attention, and that's a lot more than anyone expected at the start of this season. -- Alex Scarborough

1. Alabama
2. Florida
3. Texas A&M
4. Georgia
5. Missouri
6. Auburn
7. Ole Miss
8. Kentucky
9. Arkansas
10. LSU
11. Tennessee
12. Mississippi State
13. South Carolina
14. Vanderbilt

Group of 5/Independents

Cincinnati remains at the top spot after having the week off, but Coastal Carolina made a solid case to challenge for the Bearcats' spot in the rankings with its impressive win over BYU, which drops only a couple of spots with the loss. Louisiana moves up to No. 3, after an impressive (and its first) win over Appalachian State.

Tulsa spoiled Navy's senior day and moved up one spot thanks to App State's loss. The most surprising result this week from the Group of 5 was Marshall's 20-0 loss to Rice, dropping the Herd to No. 10. Memphis exits the power rankings after a loss to Tulane, and Buffalo creeps in as the top team in the MAC, despite having the week off. -- Harry Lyles Jr.

1. Cincinnati
2. Coastal Carolina
3. Louisiana
4. BYU
5. Boise State
6. Tulsa
7. Liberty
8. Appalachian State
9. Buffalo
10. Marshall